Free Speech Recognition
MICHAEL K. YOUNG
January 22, 2019
Dear students, faculty and staff,
This month, we were very pleased to see that the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) awarded Texas A&M its highest rating for free speech, making ours one of only 45 universities nationwide — and the only in Texas — to achieve such a designation. FIRE's "green light" status means the organization has determined our written policies fully align with the First Amendment.
While Texas A&M's policies have always been strong, it is critical that we continue to affirm our commitment to free speech. An open exchange of ideas is not only a cornerstone of our democracy, it is the surest path to truth, discovery and scholarly advancement. I would especially like to thank our vice president for student affairs, Dr. Daniel Pugh, for his leadership in this effort.
We appreciate FIRE's evaluation and validation of what we're doing here in Aggieland. FIRE reviews an institution's openness to speech and assembly on various campuses, and has found our principles and policies to be entirely consistent with the highest ideals of the First Amendment and the fundamental purposes and goals of a great education.
It's a delight for Texas A&M to host the tens of thousands of programs, events and meetings each year on our campus. Occasionally, there's a provocative speaker that detracts from the conversation but even those moments provide learning and engagement opportunities for our students, faculty and staff.
Our efforts in this area will continue to inform our work of educating students so they can engage in difficult dialogues, express their ideas without fear, and be prepared to lead in the future, both in their professional and personal lives.
Michael K. Young